“Katherine sent you a cup of coffee.”
My first Facebook gift! My friend Katherine had been encouraging me to get connected by joining Facebook for a while. When I did, I was amazed at the number of my current friends who were already on the social networking website. I also reconnected with many old friends, and got to know them better. The site allowed me to connect with people I hadn’t spoken to in years.
It wasn’t long before I received the cup of coffee notification. All of my friends know I love coffee. There is something so rich in the coffee experience for me; the smell, the feel of the hot mug in my hands, the taste. It is all so satisfying to me. Imagine my surprise when I clicked the link looking for my coffee gift card and discovered there was no gift card. There was no coffee at all. It was a faux cup of coffee! While I appreciated the gesture involved, there was no satisfaction in my pretend coffee.
Next I received a notice that someone had given me a green plant. Of course it was a faux green plant. Soon someone else was “passing out drinks.” There were gifts of puppies, candies and flowers. Someone baked me a cake. None were real.
I must admit I found this whole faux gift giving rather juvenile. If the gifts aren’t real, then let’s dream big. Give me a car, boat or mansion. Why stop at a cup of coffee? The truth is, they were calling it a cup of coffee, but there was nothing behind it.
It made me think about my relationship with God. In my early 20’s, I told people I was a Christian. I didn’t go to church, or read the Bible, or even pray. I was like a Facebook cup of coffee. I said I was a Christian, but there was nothing behind it. I believed in God, but there was no richness in my relationship with God, and consequently, no satisfaction. I was a faux Christian.
I met a real Christian friend in my late 20’s. She shared truths from the Bible with me. She got me interested in learning more. I started going to church and became an active member. I joined a Bible study. While in that study, I read a passage in James that said, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.” (James 2:19) This passage surprised me. There was more to Christianity than just believing in God?
I realized that saying I was a Christian simply because I believed in God, was like saying I am giving you a cup of Facebook coffee. Saying it doesn’t make it real. Through the book of James I realized that my faith, my belief, should inspire a change in me. This change would then produce a desire to learn more about Jesus, and to act on my beliefs, not just believe. As that happened that richness was there. My outward actions matched my inward belief.
James was a good place for me to start. It was a short book of the Bible that was easily readable and understandable. I continued in Bible study, and read more and more of the Bible. Soon I was able to make decisions in my life based on what I knew was God’s will, not mine.
The more I knew about God, the more I wanted to know. As I connected with God, I received gifts from him. His gifts, however, were real. They included spiritual gifts, the gift of the Holy Spirit and the greatest gift, eternal life through Jesus.
I found there is true richness and satisfaction in a relationship with God. Like a hot cup of coffee, there is warmth there. Improving my relationship with God doesn’t require “Facebook.” It involves putting my face into the book, the Bible. That’s how I got to know God better. I am connected, and social networking has nothing to do with it.